Vegan coconut fudge

This is my first attempt at fudge and I’m really pleased with the results (but will be buying a sugar thermometer for next time!)

I’ve used a recipe I found online but adapted to suit my tastes (and the ingredients in my pantry).

Start with a large saucepan with a thick base and add the ingredients. I’ve used 450g Demerara sugar, 250ml Alpro cream, 150g Alpro coconut milk, 50g Pure Olive spread and 1 tbsp of golden syrup. (For the rum and raisin flavour – pictured above – I also added 100ml Bacardi at this point.

Bring to heat on a medium high and stir whilst cooking until the sugar has all dissolved and you have a consistent syrup which will be light brown and will smell amazing! (Reminded me of a very sugarey Bailey’s)

When all the sugar has dissolved and you have a consistent syrup bring the pan to the boil. It needs to reach a really high temperature of 112° – 116° and needs to be stirred regularly to prevent the sugars in syrup from burning to the base of the pan. The syrup will foam but keep boiling and keep stirring until it reaches this temperature.

As I didn’t have a thermometer when I made this fudge I used an alternative to measuring the temperature by “soft ball” ing the fudge. To do this have a pot of cool water close by and as the mixture boils take a small spoonful out of the pan and drop into into the water. If the syrup forms a soft ball you can mould and lift then it has reached the right temperature and is ready to remove from the heat. If it is still a liquid when poured into the cold water then it will need to boil for longer to reach temperature. An important learning curve here is to make sure the syrup has long enough to cool in the water before you try to mould it! Hot fudge syrup burns – safety first!

Once you have ensured the syrup has reached that temperature remove it from the heat entirely. At this point you can add extra flavouring – I’ve used dessicated coconut in the coconut fudge and added raisins for the rum and raisin. Then stir rigourously as the mixture cools down. You will notice the mixture become thicker and less glossy as you stir it. Keep stirring until the mixture of fairly cool and no longer too hot to touch and is pretty thick and creamy then pour into a line baking tray or dish to set.

I’ve learnt from the two batches I made that it is best to leave the fudge to set fully at room temperature. The coconut I made I popped into the fridge to cool and it created a split in the top and bottom with the bottom of the fudge being more like a toffee.

When fully set remove from the dish, peel off the baking paper and chop into bite sized pieces ready for a tasty treat!

Turmeric Vegan Ramen

Noodles are one of my favourite ingredients and I love the number of different meals I can make with rice noodles which suit my coeliac dietary needs.

In the current lockdown situation I’m having lots of time to plan my meals and today is no exception when I made this ramen for lunch.

Start by preparing the different ingredients, chop vegetables you will use and tofu. Cook the vegetables in accordance with your taste and the vegetables you have chosen. I’m using red pepper, pak choi and mange tout. I’ve shallow fried the red pepper in a little coconut oil and I’ve steamed the pak choi and mange tout.

You may have your favourite tofu brand and recipe. Mine is Tofoo and I like to shallow fry with some flavour. I’ve used the same pan as the pepper (washing up saver) and stirred through paprika as the tofu has cooked. I’ve cooked until crispy and firm.

You can choose your noodles for this dish. I’ve used vermicelli rice noodles and soaked in boiling water to prepare.

The most vital element of this meal is the ramen soup. I’ve used a little coconut oil and fried up chopped garlic, red chilli, minced ginger, paprika, turmeric powder and coriander leaf. Top up with coconut milk and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.

When all your ingredients are cooked fill the base of the bowl with noodles, layer on tofu and vegetables before topping with the ramen soup.

I love this dish and will be experimenting with different vegetables, tofu recipes and ramen ingredients this summer.

Coconut Curry Tofu with Sushi Rice and Salad

I love tofu. Cooking it with coconut oil and curry powder gives it a great flavour and makes it a centre point of this meal.

Make sure you use a firm tofu, I’m using Tofoo naked as it’s an extra firm and versatile tofu. Chop into small squares and add to a pan with coconut oil, a spoonful of curry powder and a pinch of salt. Fry for approximately 25 minutes turning and stirring regularly.

Whilst doing this prepare the other foods to go alongside. I’m using pre-cooked sushi rice (as it can take a little while to cook and I like it cold too) and sprinkling the rice with sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds.

I’m also using suitable salad vegetables and preparing chopped spinach, chopped lettuce, avocado, cucumber and cashew nuts.

I hope you enjoy the tofu and other vegetables as much as I have.

Turmeric tofu curry

When it’s cold outside and there are cold bugs flying around I find that nothing is more welcome than a gently warming curry. This dish combines turmeric, coconut, coriander and light spices to make a bright and tasty meal.

Start by chopping garlic, ginger and chilli and adding to a pan with some warmed coconut oil. Simmer gently so the spices cook and then add chunks of tofu and continue to stir swiftly to cook quickly and evenly.

As the tofu starts to brown slightly add vegetables. For this curry I’m using carrots, yellow peppers and tenderstem broccoli which I’ve chopped down into small pieces. Saute the vegetables with the tofu for a few minutes before adding the liquid.

Add coconut milk to the pan and cover the tofu and veggies. I use Alpro Light Coconut milk which comes in a litre serving as I can use it as a milk alternative as well as in cooking and baking.

Add turmeric and chopped coriander and allow the coconut milk curry to heat up and cook at a medium temperature for approximately 30 minutes.

I’ve served with jasmine rice as to my taste it’s a perfect combination and is light and fragrant. I hope you enjoy this curry as much as I did. It’s a perfect warm up in the winter for my coeliac, vegan diet.

Woodbridge Inn, Coalport

I enjoyed spending new year’s eve in Ironbridge Gorge with friends. It was a great opportunity to start 2020 discovering a new place to eat with coeliac and vegan friendly options – both for me and for friends undertaking Veganuary.

Woodbridge Inn in Coalport has a wide range of dishes available and a specific gluten free menu making it easy to narrow down options and eat safely.

I had the Malaysian curry. The curry contained aubergine, red pepper and sweet potato in a coconut sauce and is served with brown rice and pak choi.

The service and support for allergies is fantastic. I was able to explain my allergies to mushrooms and nuts and feel supported and understood.

Highly recommend the Woodbridge Inn for gluten free and vegan foods as well as a cosy, warm environment and open fires.

Vegan Coconut and Pineapple Rice Pudding

Rice pudding is making a big comeback in my life as a naturally gluten free dessert which can be made vegan so easily and with so many options. Today I’ve made rice pudding with Alpro Coconut Milk, pudding rice, carob syrup and dried pineapple and papaya pieces.

Many coconut rice puddings will used canned coconut milk which is very dense and high in fat. I’m using the Alpro milk alternative made from coconut as it’s much healthier coming in at only 20 calories and less than 1g fat per 100ml. Start by adding 500ml of coconut milk to a pan and gradually bring to heat.

When the coconut milk starts gently boiling add in carob syrup. I’ve used 3 tablespoons to sweeten the pudding whilst still avoiding refined sugars. Thoroughly stir through the syrup until blended well with the coconut milk

Once the coconut milk and carob base is ready add half a cup of pudding rice and turn the heat down low to simmer for 45 minutes whilst occasionally checking in to stir.

Shortly before serving I’ve mixed through dried pineapple and papaya pieces to complement the coconut flavour.

Rice pudding is a classic which so much reminds me of Sunday dinner in Yorkshire with my gran (and a thick skin on top) but the tropical flavours and the hob cooking give it an adult twist making it fresh and tasty in the here and now.

Chickpea, split pea and cashew curry

Having discovered I am not allergic to cashew nuts I’ve been including them in as many recipes as I can.

Start by making a yellow curry paste by blending chilli, garlic, ginger, coriander and turmeric into a paste using a vegetable mincer. Warm the paste through with some coconut oil and saute to create the base of the curry.

Add dried yellow split peas, chickpeas and cashew nuts and then cover with coconut milk and boiling water. I use Alpro coconut milk instead of tinned milk as it’s less heavy and less fatty.

Bring to the boil then turn down and cook on a medium heat for 1 – 2 hours, stir regularly and keep an eye on how the chickpeas and yellow split peas are cooking. The pulses will have softened and expanded as they cook.

If needed continue to cook the curry for longer. This is a great recipe to make in a slow cooker for an easy workday tea.

I serve with coconut rice for a really tasty meal.

Cherry and Coconut GF, Vegan Pancakes

These are amazing. I’m going to admit straight up here that these are a packet mix and not from scratch. But what a brilliant, tasty and easy packet mix it is and easy to add flavours to.

Made by Sweetpea Bakery this gluten free pancake mix has vegan instructions for cooking. I’ve use Alpro Coconut Milk and added to the mix with egg replacement and dried cherries. This gives the pancakes a fruity, coconutty taste. Whisk all the ingredients together well before adding to a pre heated pan with oil. Cook until bubbles appear on the top and then flip over for an even cook.

I like that even with the coconut and cherries the pancakes are not too sweet.

I’m going to be trying these pancakes again with different flavours and thoroughly recommend you do too!

Courgetti Stir Fry and Tofu

I’m going to roll with the gluten free, vegan stereotype and blog about a spiralised courgette recipe! I’m going to do this because it’s so very tasty.

I got my spiralised a few years ago and since then have loved using it to make vegetable alternatives for pasta and noodles as well as using it for salads.

Start this recipe by using 2 large courgettes and spiralising on a medium width.

Then heat up a wok or a large frying pan. For this recipe I use coconut oil to cook with. Add the courgetti and cook on a high heat for about 5 minutes.

The courgette will start to soften and this is the best time to add the herbs. I’m using minced garlic, chopped coriander and lemongrass. I actually keep the lemon grass fairly bitty so I can enjoy the taste and it gives a little crunch too.

I also add beansprouts and continue to cook but on a lower, medium heat.

Whilst the stir fry continue to cook chop the tofu and squeeze any excess moisture out. I do this placing kitchen roll above and below the tofu and adding pressure using a chopping board on top.

Then heat a griddle pan with coconut oil in a high setting. Add the chopped tofu and fry on a high heat for 5 minutes turning the tofu once during cooking to ensure an even cook. Just before the cooking time is up splash the tofu with gluten free tamari.

Serve up the vegetables with tofu topping.

Delicious and easy midweek staple.

Crispy Lemongrass Salad

During hot weather I find myself eating a lot a salad. Many folks find salad quite full but I love different vegetables and flavour combinations. This warm salad is a perfect evening meal on a warm summer evening.

Ingredients

Baby cabbage

Pak choi

Orange and yellow peppers

Sugar snap peas

Broccoli

Lemongrass

Lemon

Garlic

Ginger

Coriander

Gluten free tamari sauce

Coconut oil

Start by preparing the flavours, I use a garlic mincer to prepare garlic and lemongrass and I grate ginger and chop the coriander finely.

Nextheat a little coconut oil in a wok and add the sliced peppers and broccoli once warmed to temperature. Once the vegetables are in I add the herbs and spices so they can absorb into the vegetables during cooking. Stir fry for 5 minutes before adding the sugar snap peas and continuing to stir fry for a further 5 minutes. You can increase the cooking time but I like my veg pretty crunchy.

Whilst the veggies are cooking I lightly steam the cabbage and Pak choi to make a leafy base.

Serve with a slice of lemon and a drizzle of gluten free tamari for a zingy finish. This is a wonderful salad full of flavour and far from boring. Ideal for vegans, veggies, coeliacs and everyone else besides!